Wednesday, September 06, 2006

In Which Country Mouse Goes to the City

First, about the interviews: The first one lasted about ten minutes. Sign here, initial there, okay, now we'll help you look for a job. Yay! The second interview lasted half an hour. I interviewed with a manufacturing facility in south Portland for a CSR position. I think if I'd had any AutoCAD experience, they'd have hired me on the spot for another position, or at least that's how I understood it. But as it stands, "they'll call me." I can't commute that far for that little, so I probably won't accept the position if they offer it. Back to the dragon, I mean, job search...looking up the very tall building
OKAY! So the real adventure of the day was everything else. :P

I suppose I should start with some background about me. This town has about fifteen traffic lights total. It is actually possible to get just about anywhere in town and never encounter a light if one needs to do so. That said, I do live a few blocks from a major U.S. Highway. I'm used to tractors and horses and bicyclists and broken-down cars on the side of the road. Things are pretty rural...

So the Country Mouse drove to the Big City today. Not Salem, oh no, that would have been EASY by comparison. A plum Neon followed me all the way up to Portland, both of us fighting the evil Sysco truck with barbecue sauce advertisements emblazoned upon its exterior. I knew to get off I-5 and onto I-405 (there's more than one Interstate in Oregon?), and then onto Naito Parkway to get into downtown. Somewhere in the melee, I got onto Hawthorne and crossed the Willamette River, which I immediately knew was wrong and corrected this mistake by crossing back over. Oh, by the way, I HATE BRIDGES! So I get back onto Naito Parkway, get closer to downtown, and immediately end up in a turn lane with no way out. I circled the block. Next block, same thing, other direction. Becoming dizzy and disoriented, I sought a red light so I could have a moment to check my map. Rule of Red Lights: when you want one, you don't get one. Ugh. I saw street parking, all full... parking garages, all full... signs pointing to mysterious parking lots I couldn't even find. I finally got onto an almost-correct road when I decided navigating on foot would at least put other people in less danger. The big "P" sign pointed under a bank building, and I drove inside. Okay, um, now what? The parking lots I'm used to are either free or pay-per-ticket before parking. So I found some help and got situated in the garage. Oh, yeah, the really bad part? It was a lot that allows latecomers to block other people in! WHAT?! I found a parking spot behind an orange car, a Corvette with one big white racing stripe. Since I was blocking it in, I had to leave my keys with the garage attendant (who, by the way, spoke two words of English, and I thoroughly taxed said linguistics). Most discontented.

I exited the building and stepped into sunlight, noise, and people. Looking at my watch, I realized I had an hour to kill. What to do? I started walking toward my destination, wandering up and down the street before realizing what kind of place I was dealing with. Why can't they just build one office to one building? None of this, "we take up the back half of the third floor" crap. Hungry. No food, no money. I spied an open area a block away, brickwork all around. It was a park, O'Briant Park to be exact, and completely void of grass or greenery. I sat on a brick bench near an empty fountain, people smoking on either side of me. A man fed pigeons until they all flew away over my head. It was scary. No kids anywhere, no laughter, no playing.
Art Deco in Brick
The thing that got me though: noise. I have incredibly sensitive hearing, trained ears from years of music and band. I can pick up an echo from my own voice in a regular classroom. Portland was noisy! Birds chirping, air brakes from delivery trucks, refrigeration units, a leaf blower, car engines, honking horns, police sirens, and a faintly heard church bell chiming the noon hour. In contrast: I just opened my bedroom window and can distinctly hear a man three houses down sweeping his driveway. I heard the girl across the street put the key into her car door and unlock it. The big city noise alone would drive me crazy.

I took a few pictures of some buildings, marking my adventure into the bowels of the city. Retrieving my car was easy enough: I marked my car's location on my (handheld, not car) GPS and simply back-tracked. :) I may be new to the city, but I'm no stranger to technology! It cost me $7.00 to park for an hour and ten minutes. AAAACCCCCKKKKKKK! I had simple directions to exit town: go to 13th and follow it to I-5 South. No problem. I got onto 13th, then directly onto I-5. And then directly off I-5 when some $#@!er wouldn't let me merge. Thus begins my hour of "how the heck do I get back onto I-5!?" I crossed the Ross Island Bridge back and forth. I found Portland State University. I saw OHSU. I was on Barbur Blvd. I'm pretty sure I saw ocean at one point... HOLY CRAP! I have never been so lost in my life. After finally getting back to I-5, breathing one giant sigh of relief, I stuck to the left-hand lane until just south of Salem, opting then for backroads all the way home. You have no idea the joy I felt being able to look at a cow and say, "Hi cow, I've seen you before."

The Country Mouse is not going back to the City for a looooooong time. "Hi cow" indeed!

(EDIT: pictures added!)

1 comment:

Jeff Waddell said...

Good thing you have a GPS! I tried mine out today and it worked great. Btw, if you want to be in Portland and you see an ocean you've gone too far. Oh ya, and I was bored at work one day and found a fun fact: LA has more people then Oregon. By 60,000 or so. It'll be good to see a cow again.